Behind Bars Trivia is Back!

Action from the '08 Trivia final at Bayswater Brasserie

After the success of the Behind Bars Trivia in 2008, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s making a return in 2010 – bigger, badder and better than ever! In conjunction with Diageo’s Alchemy, trivia heats will be hosted around the country, culminating with a final in September in Sydney during Sydney BarShow Week

Behind Bars Trivia gives bar-nerds the opportunity to show off their knowledge and passion of all things booze related. 

There will be three heats in each participating state (Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales). 

Kicking off in March, the heats will be hosted by some of Behind Bars’ finest and resident Alchemists. Nick van Tiel will be behind the microphone in NSW, with Sean Baxter in VIC and Jay Lambert in QLD.


Details are as follows:

NSW: Monday 22 March at Eau-de-Vie @ 7pm – 229 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst

VIC: Monday 15 March at Galley Room @ 7pm – 510 Flinders Street, Melbourne

QLD: Monday 15 March at The Lark @ 7pm – 1/267 Given Terrace, Paddington

To register your team, email or call 02 9011 7182.

  1. In the future can you guys not bother putting “around the country” when describing these events. . Mind you, they are not alone in assuming that the Australian bar scene does not stretch any further than the eastern states. Those ambassadors that do make the trip are often suprised how well supported their sessions are and regret not doing it earlier. Had the Diageo rep in SA contacted me (assuming there is one in SA?) I would have been more than happy to host a heat at Cushdy. Parochial bullshit aside its about time all states were treated equally.

  2. Hi Shaun,

    In fairness to Behind Bars, the Trivia is something that they have put together as their own initiative. Behind Bars is a small (though very successful) privately owned Sydney based company so I imagine for them to put this on in SA and WA this year would be a strain logistically and financially.

    The good news is that, after the BB team’s efforts with the Trivia in 2008, they’ve managed to get some support from Diageo’s Alchemy. So perhaps in the future (if this year’s event proves popular) they will look and spreading to the other states.

    I suggest that you contact Behind Bars directly to express you interest in this event . Maybe they’ll be able to work with you at putting something on.

  3. I know what you are saying Simon and full credit to Sven for the work he has done. My rant was aimed more at Diageo (although I could have worded it better) who do have the money & logistics to support them nationally. Diageo’s involvement in the SA scene is practically non-existent at the moment which is frustrating. Hopefully they recognise the good work Behind Bars is doing and it continues to grow nationwide.

  4. Hi Guys,
    Great to see the passion!

    I wish we could afford to run these across all states, but as Simon McGoram was kind enough to point out, we’re a small privately owned business. The Behind Bars Trivia nights are meant to be a fun and engaging initiative where we invite bar teams to some friendly and geeky competition. We simply want to use this as a way to give something back to the industry.

    Diageo’s Alchemy program has kindly come on board this year to help us cover some of the many costs that are associated with running the program and I think it’s both unfair and counterproductive to go out and attack a company that is doing so much to both support and raise the standards of the Australian bar industry. Much of their support goes towards helping us pull off a great final during Sydney Bar Show, and we’ve not asked for additional funds to make this nation-wide, simply because we at Behind Bars do not have the resources to do it.

    I am sad to see that we are coming under fire for something that is meant to be a fun evening where bartenders get together for some friendly competition. By making it educational we’re hoping that everyone that attends also walk away with some new-found knowledge and increased passion for their industry as well…

    It was not our intention to upset anyone, and I hope that you understand that it is financial constraints and lack of resources that stop us from hosting these in SA & WA. I am currently looking for new trainers and consultants in both states however, and with more people on the ground it may be more feasible to expand to SA & WA post Bar Show…

    Please do not hesitate to contact me on for any further comments or queries…

    Yours in high spirits


  5. Sean Baxter hosted last nights event at The Galley Room and it was a great night.

    He put it together and ran the event for free in his own time. Awesome. This is a genuine, industry focused concept thats not about marketing, or getting young bartenders to go through more product practising comp drinks.

    I have noticed that WA, SA etc get left out of other things like cocktail comps and incentive programs which totally sucks. Maybe Radelaide should petition the big boys (Brown Forman, Diageo etc) for a bit of love. As opposed to having a crack at an independant company putting on a free, fun event.

    P.S The only reason Black Pearl won is because Sean has a thing for Ben Cousins…

  6. Let me first state that Behind Bars and in particular Sven and Amber have been two of the most inspirational people in the Australian Bar industry for a number of years now. They’ve done more to promote professionalism and pride in Bartending than a lot of companies, and they’ve had a hand in many top bartenders becoming top brand ambassadors all over the world, we are truly lucky to have them in Australia.
    It is also true that the Global Financial Crisis has hit hard in Australia and everyone has had to tighten their budgets this year and I understand how this would effect Behind Bars being able to run a an Australia wide Trivia night and Smirnoff Copper Cup. But not offering the same opportunity to promote a brand to people here in WA and SA, and lets not forget NT, is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Not every good bartender works in the Eastern states, in fact we’ve supplied some of the best of them -Jarrod Plumber, Nathan Beasley and Andy Mac to name a few.It’s not that we feel we’re being accidentally forgotten (you can’t miss us we’re on the left side of the map) It feels like we’re being blatantly ignored.

    The cost of flying trivia teams to the final in Sydney from Perth might be expensive, plus the cost of providing accommodation, but it is significantly less than sending people to Thailand. Surely having a trip within Australia that promotes the amazing produce and diversity of ideas would be more appropriate instead of having a pissing contest between spirit companies as to who can offer the most amazing trip overseas as a prize. And we’re bartenders, we don’t care where we sleep, as long as it’s got a late check out. Are we forgetting what we’re trying to achieve here? The reward of people promoting and driving forward a brand? Have bartenders gotten that prima donna-ish that we need to be pampered to be bothered to make up a drink? I think the popularity of competitions like It’s a Reematch and Bartender Bumfight demonstrate that we don’t and Spirit companies should take notice and have a reality check

  7. Folks I think what Shaun is saying has been taken out of context and all he is saying is that a little more love would be nice in those states. This I total 110% agree with as I’m sure most of us do. Credit to the BB team for doing what they can to support the trade.
    Remember for a country our size and population we punch well above our weight in terms of trade support and quality bartenders and this is possible because of passionate people and all who have commented above fit into that!


  8. Before we all start bitching lets not forget:

    1/ The triva nights are designed to put the fun back into an idustry that has unfortunately been consumed by ego’s and the wank that goes with them
    2/ Bartending is about service and making people have fun, not how cool do I look mixing drinks?
    3/ Times are tough on everyone, if we dont work together as an industry we’re all screwed
    4/ Australia is bigger than NSW, VIC & QLD. Ive been lucky enough to work in more than one of these staes and trust me, bartenders there arent nearly as far ahead as they might like to think they are.
    5/ Most importantly SVEN AND AMBER HAVE DONE MORE FOR THIS INDUSTRY THAN ANYONE BITCHING WILL EVER DO – we need more people like them.

    Simple really – there is more to Australia than three states, and everyone in ths industry should be thankful that people care about what we do and work TOGETHER

  9. Note to Andy. RUN YOUR OWN TRIVIA NIGHT! The winners can compete in the National comp is Sydney. Done? Are we done? Why is it BBars responsibility to hold your hand in running a TRIVIA NIGHT in your own state?

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